How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for Tournament Play

Kasparov All Girls Nationals 2007

Tips on How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for Tournament Play:

  • Your child already participates in a Chess Class and/or has a brother or sister experienced in tournament play.
  • Your child shows an interest in participating in tournament play.
  • If none of the above apply, but, your child shows an exceptional talent with chess and expresses interest in tournament play.
  • Prior to participating in a chess tournament make sure that your child knows all the basic rules of the game, including the special moves, such as Pawn Promotion, en passant and Castles.


  • Encouragement and Support: The first time your child plays in a tournament, make sure that he/she knows that theyƂ may lose most of the games if not all. This is natural since the other participants may be more experienced. Introduce the concept of playing chess in tournaments as a fun and enriching experience. Remember, practice makes perfect or we can say practice makes masters. The most important thing is to encourage and actively support your child in their interest to play chess.
  • Notation: Writing down the moves is essential for your childs progress in chess. The main learning tool is based on studying and reviewing our games. In chess we learn from our mistakes, and try not to repeat them again.
    Usually for grades K-2, notation is strongly recommended, but, for grades 3-12 it’s a requirement. Therefore, before registering your child in a chess tournament it would be to their advantage if they learned notation.
  • Touch Move and Piece Connection: If you intentionally touch your piece, you must move it if there is a legal way to do this. If you intentionally touch your opponents piece, you must capture that piece if possible. Pieces that are accidentally knocked over, brushed with a palm as you reach for another piece, hit with an elbow, or otherwise inadvertently touched do not need to be moved. If you need to adjust a piece because it is not aligned correctly on the board, you must say, adjust, before you touch the piece. Players are not required to move the piece that they have adjusted in this way.

There are other rules for tournament play.

In scholastic events, usually the Tournament Director will go over the rules before the start of the event.

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